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Another passage of the same kind, and of eminent beauty, is to be found in the scene where the conspirators assemble at the house of Brutus at midnight Brutus, welcoming them all, says
“What watchful cares do interpose themselves
Cassius. Shall I entreat a word? [They whisper.]
Cinna. O pardon, sir, it doth; and yon gray lines,
Casca. You shall confess, that you are both deceived
It is not only heroic manners and incidents which the all-powerful pen of Shakspeare has expressed with great historic truth in this play; he has entered with no less penetration into the manners of the factious plebeians, and has exhibited here, as well as in Coriolanus, the manners of a Roman mob. How could Johnson say, that “his adherence to the real story, and to Roman manners, seems to have impeded the natural vigor of his genius”!!
Conspirators against Julius Cæsar.
Friends to Brutus and Cassius. VARRO, CLITUS, CLAUDIUS, STRATO, LUCIUS, DARDANIUS, Servants
to Brutus. PINDARUS, Servant to Cassius.
CALPHURNIA, Wife to Cæsar.
Senators, Citizens, Guards, Attendants, fc.
SCENE, during a great part of the Play, at Rome; afterwards at
Sardis, and near Philippi.
SCENE 1. Rome. A Street.
Enter Flavius, Marullus, and a rabble of Citizens.
i Cit. Why, sir, a carpenter.
Mar. Where is thy leather apron, and thy rule ?
? 2 Cit. Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler.
Mar. But what trade art thou ? Answer me directly.
2 Cit. A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles. Mar. What trade, thou knave; thou naughty knave,
what trade? 2 Cit. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me; yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.
Mar. What mean'st thou by that? Mend me, thou
2 Cit. 'Why, sir, cobble you. Flav. Thou art a cobbler, art thou ? 2 Cit. Truly, sir, all that I live by is, with the awl: I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters, but with awl.
I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat's leather have gone upon my handy work.
Flav. But wherefore art not in thy shop to-day ? Why dost thou lead these men about the streets ?
2 Cit. Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself
climbed up to walls and battlements,
Be gone ;
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
Flav. Go, go, good countrymen, and, for this fault,
1 Condition, rank.
Into the channel, till the lowest stream
you down that way towards the Capitol ;
Mar. May we do so ?
Flav. It is no matter; let no images
SCENE II. The same. A public Place.
Enter, in procession, with music, CÆSAR, ANTONY, for
the course ; CALPHURNIA, Portia, Decius, Cicero, BRUTUS, Cassius, and Casca, a great crowd following, among them a Soothsayer. Cæs. Calphurnia,Casca.
Peace, ho! Cæsar speaks.
[Music ceases. Ces.
Calphurnia,Cal. Here, my lord.
1 Whether. 2 Honorary ornaments. 3 These trophies were scarfs. 4 This person was not Decius, but Decimus Brutus. The Poet (as Voltaire has done since) confounds the characters of Marcus and Decimus. Decimus Brutus was the most cherished by Cæsar of all his friends, while Marcus kept aloof. The error has its source in North’s translation of Plutarch, or in Holland's Suetonius, 1606. VOL. VI.